We were doing so well, for awhile. Only a few weeks ago, playgrounds were opening again, schools were allowed to have a limited number of students on campus. Everyone had enough toilet paper.
But L.A. County just had more than 5,000 new COVID-19 infections reported in one day - the highest daily number since the start of the pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom has now imposed an overnight curfew for all purple-tier states - and that still very much includes us.
According to City News Service, Gov. Newsom said the daily cases numbers in the state “have doubled just in the last 10 days. This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic.”
And if the numbers keep getting worse - which they are expected to do - the restrictions will only grow. If the five-day average of cases reaches 4,000, or if hospitalizations exceed 1,750 a day, outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries, and bars will disappear altogether, and we’ll be back to just pick-up and delivery.
If that five-day average goes even higher - to 4,500 - or hospitalizations go past 2,000 per day, we’ll all be locked down again with a Safer at Home Order for three weeks.
So everyone try to be good, okay?
Starting 10 p.m. Saturday and continuing until 5 a.m. Dec. 21, all “non-essential” activities and gatherings outside the home are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Among other things, that means the stores will be closed.
This is being called a “soft” curfew - or a "Limited Stay at Home Order" - since people can still go outside to walk their dog. The governor's order also states that it does not apply to people who are homeless, and does not prevent "any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein."
We haven’t lost our outdoor seating for restaurants - yet. But the hours and capacities are to be more restricted. Outdoor seating will not be allowed after 10 p.m., or before 6 a.m., and will otherwise be limited to 50% of the maximum outdoor capacity. Food carry-out and delivery will still be allowed after 10 p.m. Both are listed among the state's "essential workforce."
Occupancy by customers will be limited to 25% of maximum capacity. This has already been true for awhile at retail stores, but it will now also apply to offices, and personal care services such as skin care, cosmetology, tattoo parlors, massage therapy, tanning services, nail salons, hair salons and barbershops.
Personal-care businesses also require advance appointments for every customer, and cannot offer services that require customers to remove their face masks. So no facials or shaves.
The maximum outdoor capacity has been cut in half for miniature-golf sites, go-kart tracks, batting cages, and outdoor cardrooms. The card rooms still allow going all-in for an inside straight, though, which somehow also seems detrimental to public health.
Outdoor gatherings are now limited to no more than 15 people. They are also still limited to a maximum of three households. This relates to a problem that has bedeviled county health officials for months - the insistence by some individuals on holding parties - particularly for sports victories.
Also - just a reminder: Enforcement of all parking laws has been resumed.